1.2.4 Multi-Drug Resistant Organisms

The term multidrug-resistant organism (MDRO) refers to a germ, sometimes called a “superbug,” that is resistant to many antibiotics. Antibiotics are medicines that are prescribed to treat infections caused by bacteria.

Many antibiotics will not be successful in treating MDRO infections without using a second antibiotic at the same time. That is what is meant by the MDRO being resistant to antibiotics. Research points to the overuse of prescriptions for antibiotics in the past as a significant cause of the growing MDRO issue.

Common examples of MDRO’s include:

  • Enterobacteriaceae, carbapenem-resistant (ESBL-producing)
  • Staphylococcus aureus, methicillin-resistant (MRSA)
  • Enterococcus faecium, vancomycin-resistant (VRE)
  • Carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae (CRE)

Go Deeper

Research the symptoms of the infections listed above using the WHO website. To learn more about how antibiotic-resistant micro-organisms come to exist and spread, view this CDC infographic.

The World Health Organization has identified that hand hygiene is effective in reducing the occurrence of these MDRO’s.

Two petri dishes
Antibiotic resistance tests; the bacteria in the culture on the left are sensitive to the antibiotics contained in the white paper discs. The bacteria on the right are resistant to most of the antibiotics.

Media Attributions

  • Dr Graham Beards at en.wikipedia, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons


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